‘Shop small’ a big deal for local merchants | PostIndependent.com

‘Shop small’ a big deal for local merchants

Staff Photo |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Find a good price online for something like a piece of jewelry or a music instrument and it’s buyer beware, say a couple of local merchants who deal in those particular items.

Take a fine diamond, for instance, said Steve Spangler, a longtime jeweler in the Roaring Fork Valley and proprietor at the Resident Goldsmith shop in downtown Glenwood Springs.

“You can’t see the cut of a diamond online,” he said of the art of choosing the right diamond for that special holiday occasion. “Until you have the stone in your hands, you can’t make a comparison.”

And, “later on, when you need to have that piece of jewelry fixed, the local jeweler is no longer in business because you chose to spend your money on the Internet,” Spangler said.

It’s the same deal with something as complex as a musical instrument or amplifier, said Joe Rodgers, a partner in Glenwood Music at the Roaring Fork Marketplace shopping center in south Glenwood.

“Because we’re the only authorized service center in western Colorado, we can back up the product as compared to shopping online and taking a roll of the dice on something like an expensive instrument,” Rodgers said.

It’s all the more reason to consider locally owned businesses come this holiday shopping season. And that’s the focus of the Small Business Saturday promotions that will be going on around Glenwood Springs on Saturday.

Local initiative

Small Business Saturday, as it has become known, falls between Black Friday, when national retailers offer up one-day deals on popular merchandise, and Cyber Monday, when shoppers can find online deals.

The “shop small” marketing campaign was created in 2010 by credit card company American Express as a day to support small, independent businesses and boost local economies.

“Celebrated annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the day has given small businesses across the country a huge boost,” according to a news release from American Express.

“Small Business Saturday celebrates the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and collect the taxes that build and support communities around the country,” said Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association President and CEO Marianne Virgili, in a recent statement announcing the local chamber’s involvement in promoting Small Business Saturday.

Earlier this month, the chamber had a Facebook contest to give away 50 American Express Gift Cards, each worth $25, to encourage “shopping small” on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holidays.

Several local businesses are getting in on the act, too.

Claire’s Accessories in the Glenwood Springs Mall, located on Highway 6 in West Glenwood, is offering several new promotions including a special gift with a $20 purchase.

The jewelry and accessories store caters mostly to preteens and does ear-piercing, manager Yesenia Fernandez said.

The mall is also opening early, at 6 a.m., both Friday and Saturday, and Fernandez hopes to benefit from the early bird shopping activity at the bigger retailers such as JC Penney and Ross Dress for Less.

“We rely on the foot traffic,” she said of her store and the other smaller shops in the mall.

Many downtown businesses are displaying “Shop Small” signs in their windows, and will be offering promotional items to Small Business Saturday customers, such as tote bags and buttons.

Summit Canyon Mountaineering owner Carl Moak said his store’s website includes a link for American Express customers to sign up for a discount on their credit card bill for any purchases made on Small Business Saturday.

“We also have our own store specials running through the weekend,” including a $50 gift card for a purchase of $250 or more, Moak said.

Summit Canyon is also continuing its winter coat drive for Salvation Army, where donations of a coat that’s still in good condition will earn a 20 percent discount on a store purchase, he said.

Up the street at Arcella’s Retreat lingerie shop, owner Tami Campbell is offering a similar $10 gift card deal with a $60 purchase on Small Business Saturday.

“The local small businesses are all about building relationships with customers,” Campbell said. “We do truly care about helping people make the perfect purchase.”

Each year since there has been more of an emphasis on shopping locally, she said there seems to be more consumer awareness about the importance of supporting small businesses.

Spangler agreed.

The consumer who focuses only on finding the lowest price “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing,” he said, quoting author Oscar Wilde.

“Instead of just being price conscious, people need to look at the big picture,” Spangler said. “We offer a full service to our local people and, later on, we’ll be there for them.”

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